So HOW MANY kids do you have?
And HOW MANY have you adopted?
Well, I HAVE 16 children. Actually– I have two legal adults and fourteen children but the question about how many I have adopted always seems to follow the incredulous “How many did you actually GIVE BIRTH to???”
Folks. Let’s get real for a second here.
Pregnancy is the easiest part of parenting. At worst, the actual birthing process is a few miserable hours. C’mon People!!! Pregnancy and birth are the simplest aspect of actually having a child! In many cases, pregnancy is unexpected or unplanned and still– the baby comes. But once that child is here, the difficult aspect of actually raising a human being begins…and that’s the tough part.
[bctt tweet=”Pregnancy is the easiest part of parenting. “]
How many children a woman HAS…one, two or twenty…verses how many she physically gave birth to is completely immaterial. How many children she has committed to raise can vary widely from the actual birth count. Adoption, fostering, taking in, mentoring…each of these familial ties and responsibilities is far more challenging than a pregnancy or even a difficult birth.
And look…I’ll be honest. I’m thankful beyond all comparison that David and I were able to conceive and have children despite a few miscarriages and health issues along the way. I’m blown away by the grace of God that we were given the opportunity to adopt several times. And as icing on the cake, we have several kiddos that call us mama and dad that have no legal or blood relation at all– we were just bound together in our hearts by a loving heavenly Father.
But please never discount the work a family has undergone despite however many biological vs. adopted children they have. Likely they’ll tell you that being pregnant and having a baby was easy compared to all the hoops they went through to adopt as well as how the challenges only BEGAN after the pregnancy ended. And what about those precious souls who bravely choose to foster? They may not have ever been pregnant, they may not have ever adopted. But no doubt the impressions they left on the hearts of dozens of children outweighs the actual number of children they may have raised into adulthood.
The reason for this post is because many times, as someone asks me how many children I gave birth to verses how many I adopted…the response once someone discovers that we have adopted four seems like– “Oh well THAT makes it easier.” And the truth of it is, that adoption is not easy, and raising a child is not easy, whereas by comparison to either of those things, pregnancy and birth are– even if only by comparison of sheer duration! It sometimes comes across to families who adopt as though the adoptions “don’t count,” or aren’t their “real children”…which is very hurtful towards the adopted parent AND the adopted child. Not to mention it completely discounts the bravery and magnitude of the gift a birth parent gave.
Raising a child, no matter how they come into the family, is the toughest job on the planet. So hats off to every one of us who has bravely stepped into the ring to give it our best shot. No matter how that little miracle came into our lives.
[bctt tweet=”Raising a child, no matter how they come into the family, is the toughest job on the planet.”]